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May 2019

A Belated Visit to Blackpool Zoo for My Birthday

By Friends & Family, Happiness & JoyNo Comments

At the weekend, a family that has unofficially adopted me and I went to Blackpool Zoo. We had a great time, with lots of laughter. Here are some photos of the animals:


This peacock frightened the life out of me as I checked my phone before I’d even entered the zoo.


I saw my first ever Sea Lion show. The Californian Sea Lions (1).


The Californian Sea Lions (2).


The Californian Sea Lions (3).


Elephant eating.


The parade of Elephants.






Wolfs – close up.




Gorilla family – complete with baby.




Canadian Goose with gosling.

All photos were taken using my Samsung Galaxy S10+ smartphone.

Write soon,



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Some Mental Health Advice to Madonna After Her Disastrous Performance at Eurovision 2019

By Health, Music & Radio, The Web, ThinkingNo Comments

Madonna recently performed at the Eurovision Song Contest. Here’s a video of her performance:

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Edit: 20/05/19, 08:45 – I had to change the video as the user had removed the original. There was a Vevo video, uploaded to Madonna’s official YouTube channel however it appeared to have been altered to make her performance sound better than it was during the original broadcast. So I went for this video that is more reflective of the original performance.

Madonna has had criticism since, with many calling it a disastrous and possibly career ending performance. People have described her voice as flat or off key, her outfit and the Christian heavy iconography controversial and unappealing.

I must admit that cringed watching it. But I realised something from it: We’re all human. Even Madonna.

We’ve all had times when things have gone disastrously wrong for us. I don’t know much about Madonna to be honest, but I once did see an interview where she described herself as a perfectionist. So I imagine that Madonna is currently in a mental state of self-denial, or one of rumination with her critical inner voice in over drive.

So here’s some mental health advice to Madonna, from my book Mental Health Wisdom:


Rumination is thinking the same thoughts or replaying memories again, again and again in your mind. Nothing good ever comes from it. It’s like having a song that you hate on full ear-bleeding volume and stuck on repeat. Rumination makes you feel like you are losing your mind.

When it comes to replaying memories, they are usually memories that are emotionally traumatic. Our memory of events is never accurate and always has a negative bias. What you need to remember if you find yourself ruminating is that the event has happened. It’s in the past. It’s gone. You can’t change what’s happened, no matter how many times you replay the video. It’s time to accept what’s happened, how it made you feel, so that you can let it go and move on.

Rumination is a waste of time, energy and effort. Rumination and the Critical Inner Voice go together. The critical inner voice is that voice inside your head that says things like:

  • You’re not good enough.
  • You don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Just who do you think you are?
  • You’re worthless.
  • You screw everything up. You are a screw up.
  • Nobody cares about you.

The critical inner voice is abusive and says things that we wouldn’t dream of saying to our worst enemy. It never says anything useful, nice, good or kind. It tends to get louder and louder if we allow it to. Managing the critical inner voice starts with the choice not to put up with the things it says to you.

I manage my critical inner voice in two main ways. First by imagining a volume control knob. I imagine it being turned down and hear the voice go quieter and quieter until it is silent. Second, I repeat positive affirmations that I know are true. I say things to myself like:

  • I am good at my job. I have a lot of specialist knowledge and thirteen years of clinical experience.
  • I offer a lot to people around me, including humour, compassion and kindness.
  • People value my opinion. I know this because I am often asked for it by others.
  • I am doing the best that I can and learn every day.

Having difficulty coming up with positive affirmations about yourself that are true? Ask people who are close to you: What is positive about me? What do you like about me? Others often see things that we don’t spot in ourselves.

(From: Mental Health Wisdom by Antony Simpson, 2019, pages 97-99.)

So Madonna try not to be too hard on yourself. Learn from the performance, then let it go.

Write soon,


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Help The Bees Flourish With Beebombs

By Friends & Family, Nature, PaganismNo Comments

Beebombs are pellets containing various seeds of wildflowers, clay and compost. The wildflowers are all ones that Bees love and that will help them survive and hopefully flourish.

My 33rd birthday was a big one on a pagan and magical front. Magically spells are said three times. In Numerology, 33 would equal 3+3 = 6. Six is The Nurturer, which couldn’t be closer to the values associated with paganism.

So for my birthday this year, I decided to buy something small for some family and friends that would help nature. Then I came across an Ad for Beebombs.

Beebombs are pellets containing various seeds of wildflowers, clay and compost. They are handmade in Dorset and all of the packaging is recyclable.

Since World War 2, the Bee population has dropped by 97%. We all remember being at school being taught about the food chain and the web of life. If the Bees die out, those animals that eat the Bees could die out, then the animals that eat them and so on.

The Beebombs don’t need to be planted, they are simply be scattered. Just know that the wildflowers contained require a lot of sunlight, so don’t scatter anywhere where they will have a lot of competition for sunlight.

According to the makers, they are safe for pets. They do contain Poppy seeds, which are toxic to cats, but only in small quantities and not enough to cause harm to cats.

The wildflowers that will grow from the Beebombs are slow growers and it make take up to 2 years to fully grow. They are all wildflowers that that Bees love and that will help them survive and hopefully flourish.

I bought five Beebombs bags. One I scattered close to where I live. One I gave to mum and papa. One I gave to Simon. One I gave to Kay for her mum’s garden and one to Jayne. Everyone has loved them. They make great gifts, providing that the people you give them to aren’t scared of Bees and or butterflies.

I should point out that I haven’t been paid or compensated in anyway by the makers of Beebombs for this post. I just thought they were cool and wanted to share.

Take care,


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A Brilliant 33rd Birthday (including a visit to Mother Shipton’s Cave)

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, PaganismNo Comments


This week I have had a brilliant time celebrating my 33rd Birthday. I’ve seen my brother Shaun for coffee, had tea out with mum and papa, seen Jayne for coffee and cake, spent a wonderful day at Mother Shipton’s Cave and in Knaresborough with Simon and am seeing Kay tomorrow. I received some lovely cards and great gifts. The most brilliant thing has been catching up with people.

But a highlight has to be visiting Mother Shipton’s Cave. Here are some photos from the cave visit:


Simon and I, the famous Petrifying Well behind us.


This is Beech Ave. It has some of the oldest beech trees in Britain.


The stream that leads down to the Petrifying Well.


The top of the Petrifying Well.


The Petrifying Well. Normally the rock above would have worn away due to erosion, but because of the unique properties of the water, that turns things to stone, a layer of stone has built up and protected the rock underneath.


A side view of the Petrifying Well (1).


A side view of the Petrifying Well (2).


Ivy at the side of the well has began to crystalise from the water splash back from the Petrifying Well.


The entrance to Mother Shipton’s Cave.


A rock carving impression of Mother Shipton within her cave.


The naturally formed Wishing Well (1). Simon and I both made a wish.


The naturally formed Wishing Well (2).


A sculpture of Mother Shipton in the small museum/gift shop.


Just a silly photo of me.

A video I took at the Petrifying Well:

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Essential Info

  • Mother Shipton’s Cave includes: some of the oldest beech trees in Britain, a cave where Mother Shipton (a Witch in the 17th Century) was said to have lived. A Petrifying Well that turns things into stone (due to the unique make up of the water), a naturally formed wishing well, a park for children (with picnic benches) and a small shop/museum. It is located in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England. This attraction could be fully completed in about an hour.
  • Admission Price: £9-10 for an adult. This is on the expensive side for what is on offer, however it does include an all day come and go wristband. This means that you could leave the attraction to go into the market town of Knaresborough.
  • Opening Times: Vary, view here.
  • Parking: £1-2, with plenty available.
  • Toilets.
  • Has a small gift shop and museum combined.
  • Useful to know: Wednesday’s are market day in Knaresborough, so worth visiting on a Wednesday if you can. That way you can do the cave, markets and get something to eat in the many pubs/restaurants in the town.

I’ve had a fantastic birthday, but the week of annual leave that I’ve taken for my birthday has gone far too quickly as always.

Blog soon,


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